The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, May 31, 2001, Image 5

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    o PINION
Page 5
I arbor, de-
ded special
:>ple in the
ig, whether
ing sailors
their ships,
Not a miracle cure
Smoking ban has mixed effects on restaurants and their patrons
is hard to
the soul-
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planes left,
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tild he seen, if I '
inded of why
■ I forever be'i
nye in infamv
A smoking ban went into ef
fect for all restaurants in
Bryan and College Station
on March 28. It is now illegal to
smoke in any restaurant between
the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
However, smoking is still allowed
in restaurants that seat more than
50 people between 10 pf.m. and 6
a.m. Bars and businesses that receive more than 51
percent of their revenue from alcohol sales are ex
empt from the ruling. Smoking is also illegal within
20 feet of the entrance to any public building.
It is a matter of opinion whether jthe smoking
ban has been helpful or a public nuisance. Howev
er, it seems to have been a bit of both, and the rul
ing really has not satisfied anyone. Ardent anti
smokers are unhappy that smoking is allowed in
restaurants between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
However, smokers also have a right to be upset.
Not only are they prohibited from smoking during
dinner, they are not even allowed to sit outside of
the restaurant and have a cigarette between meal
courses. This may cause a decrease in restaurant
revenue and workers’ tips from smokers.
No transition is easy, but there is a solution for
all involved. California’s 1998 smoking ban in bars
also had a rocky start but seems to be going
smoothly now. Although opposition to California’s
ban originally argued that restaurants and bars
would lose money because of the ban, more recent
studies have shown the opposite. Revenues have ac
tually risen since the law went into effect, said Stan
Glantz a professor of medicine at the University of
California-San Francisco, in a CNN interview. It is
arguable that the same thing will happen in College
Station, once the adjustment time is over.
In the meantime, many non-smokers are enjoy
ing their new-found freedom to eat without irrita
tion from smoke, and the health of restaurant staff
will almost certainly improve. A 1998 study in Cali
fornia showed a sharp increase in bartenders’ health
after the ban was passed. Before the law was passed,
three-quarters of the bartenders studied had lung
ailments. Sixty percent of die illnesses disappeared
after the ban, according to a CNN study.
It is reasonable to expect the same thing to hap
pen in College Station. In fact, these findings are
the best reasons to keep the smoking ban in place
rather than installing more effective ventilation sys
tems to keep the smoking and non-smoking sec
tions separated. Ventilation will not help the staff
working in the smoking section.
However, there is one major drawback to the
smoking ban in College Station that should be re
vised. Restaurants would benefit from providing a
covered, outdoor smoking area for their smoking
customers. With no place to smoke, Brooke Sikes,
a junior psychology major, says “We will not stay as
long at restaurants, because we carmot sit there and
relax. Also, we will not tip as well, because we will
not stay as long.”
Smokers would be more likely to enjoy an ex
tended meal if they could walk outside to smoke
without having to stand in the pouring rain or
blinding sunlight, which would solve the most
prevalent complaints about the smoking ban.
Jessica Crutcher is a junior
journalism major.
not working
I (U-WIRE) TAMPA, Fla. —
it appears that zero tolerance
is not doing the job it was de
signed to do. It now seems the
solution has become worse
titan the problem.
I The latest example comes
a high school in Ft. My-
Irs, Fla., and an honors stu
dent with a kitchen knife. A
week ago, Lindsey Brown, an
18-year-old senior at Estero
Kigh School, was arrested for
ftlony possession of a weapon
sy touchstone pictu® on a school campus. Suspcnd-
Igd for five days at the end of
Kcr high school career, Brown
|W'dl at least get to take her ex-
I ams and receive her diploma.
Put she will not get to walk at
her graduation ceremony.
■ The facts: The weapon was
brought to school, and Brown
brought it. But Brown didn’t
bring the knife into school;
she left it in her car (it just
Happened to be left in plain
as they tracedfak view). Brown contests she was
Mexico and dis-j not aware the knife was in her
false confessions, car because she was helping
;d some kind o her parents move some items,
tearful Barba® and the knife must have fallen
r of the Harbisf out of one of the boxes,
ertheverdictvs | Now the principal is being
pressured by parents to over-
i stood tall as tli: turn the suspension, and the
ead, clasping b' graduating seniors are
i his back. H: threatening to stage a boy-
at the jury. cott of graduation,
liberated 13 bom 1 Brown’s classmates should
before reaching be commended for staring the
il jurors cried vvhc system in the face and making
is announced. Ot the point known that the
rered his face wit Zero-tolerance policy in
schools simply is not working,
room was pack The only problem with crit-
family member: icizing the school’s principal is
n burst into sobs ||at his hands are tied; he is
is announced.Mo- just following orders. The
sent as they leftc ?chool board’s policy was put
. p| place to prevent tragedies
n patted one off Su ch as Columbine, which
rkley Bettis, on ft Means a kitchen knife is just as
oiliffs led him fro bad as a semi-automatic ma-
,m. His lead atto« ine ^ in - However, die argu
es Sawyer was: nicnt that zero tolerance is not
oom when the>. th '' 1 ™ iwer is not a new c , on -
. He did notrfjl?'-, 1 " ! 999 > “o consultants
is a phone call#‘I beh , avlor management and
discipline wrote in their arti-
„ , c . cle, “Zero Tolerance for Zero
irs Robert biffl- TT
Davis left with-
Tolerance,” about the negative
aspects of the cut-and-dry,
across-the-board rule.
“Any intervention that
treats dissimilar problems with
similar behavior outcomes die
same is not only unfair but
destined to fail,” stated authors
Richard L. Cumin and Allen
N. Mendler. ,
Curwin and Mendler cite an
example of a doctor who pre
scribes chemotherapy for two
patients with headaches — one
has a brain tumor, and the oth
er has a sinus condition. The
authors argue that a zero-tol
erance policy is no different.
While the audiors have a
new theory of dieir own called
“As Tough As Necessary” for
cases that zero tolerance simply
would not work for, die answer
may not be that clear. Zero tol
erance was put in place to plug
die loopholes with full knowl
edge that some good inten
tions (such as Brown) would
fall as sacrificial lambs along
with the evils diat should theo
retically be the majority.
Either way, we are dealing
with kids here. And a girl
helping her parents move
during the weekend and acci
dentally dropping a kitchen
knife along the way should
not be grouped with
Nathaniel Brazil! bringing a
gun onto campus after earlier
threats of using it.
The best solution is dealing
with problems on a case-by
case basis. The public school
board needs to look into the
zero-tolerance policy and al
low for time and research into
issues and not rush judgments.
By following the current poli
cy, school officials are striking
fear into the hearts of students,
even those with good inten
tions, and making them walk a
tightrope when officials’ sole
duty is making die school the
most comfortable place to be,
not the most feared.
William Albritton
The Oracle
University of South Florida
It's not easy being green
ven though there
almost four
[years remaining in
the war, it seems as
though the tide has
turned. This war, how
ever, is not about bombs,
guns and power: It is
over the environment,
and the defending side is losing. With an en
ergy crisis in California and gas prices sky- •
rocketing, the Bush administration has again
showed that it is a fair-weather friend to the
When the publicity protecting the envi
ronment gains more attention from voters,
then the environment is being protected.
President Bush should not need to believe
and follow the hysteric few but instead work
to find better ways to end these crises than
by the destruction of the environment.
Ejjrly this year, President Bush seemed
to want to protect the environment, with
moves such as protecting the wetlands, but
whepTt became politically correct to ig
nore tite environment, the Republicans,
and George W Bush, jumped on the
bandwagon. .
Witfa the energy crisis in California,
Bush has decided to consider more lenien
cy on, or suspending altogether, laws gov
erning pollution for power plants. The le
niency is to help companies produce more
electricity and end the energy problems. A
provision in the Clean Air Act of 1990 re
quired power plants and refineries to make
major upgrades in order to reduce or elim-
inate additional pollution, by reducing
emissions in another part of the plant or
installing new controls. This provision is
what the president is considering suspend
ing because the companies say these laws
prevented them from expanding their
According The New York Times, the act
targeted numerous, old coal-burning pow
er plants that were exempted from the re-
With on energy crisis in
California and gas prices
skyrocketing, the Bush
administration has again
showed that it is a fair-
weather friend to the
strictive pollution laws because the lawmak
ers believed that these plants would be
phased out. Yet, the plants are still here and
contaminating the environment with pollu
tants that cause smog, global warming, acid
rain and mercury contamination.
The Bush administration also complains
that drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Preserve
will solve the high gas prices. Yet, prices
are not increasing because there is a short
age of oil. The crisis is caused by refiner
ies not having the capacity to produce
enough gasoline for the country. T he ad
ministration believes that by spinning the
story to make citizens believe there is not
enough oil, it will be able to lead the pub-
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The Battalion encourages let
ters to the editor. Letters must
be 300 words or less and include
the author’s name, class and
phone number.
The opinion editor reserves
the right to edit letters for length,
style and accuracy. Letters may
be submitted in person at 014
Reed McDonald with a valid stu
dent ID. Letters may also be
mailed to:
The Battalion - Mail Call
014 Reed McDonald
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX
Campus Mail: 1113,
Fax: (979) 845-2647
lie down the road of environmental de
“George Bush now has no chance of
drilling in the arctic refuge and will have to
work very hard to stop it from being turned
into a wilderness with a capital ‘W 5 - that is
an actual legal status with stronger protec
tions than a refuge,” said Rep. Edward J.
Markey (D-Mass) in a Boston Globe article.
Hopefully, this is not just an idle threat and
there are people in Congress who are not
fooled by spin doctors.
Let us recap the battles. There was the
President’s decision for the U.S. not to en
ter into the Kyoto agreement on reducing
global warming. Then there was his deci
sion not to honor his campaign promise of
listing carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Now
his new ideas include relaxing the Clean Air
Act and opening the Arctic Wildlife Pre
serve for oil drilling as a way to solve the
energy crisis.
There are a few bright spots on Bush’s
environmental record that must not be for
gotten. His decision to leave a Clinton-era
protection of the wetlands in place was seen
as an increased concern for the environ
ment. He also continued the requirement
for industry to disclose emission levels to
the public, and he agreed to U.S. partici
pation in a global treaty aimed at stopping
production of 12 toxic chemicals.
Yet, overall and with future predictions,
Bush’s environmental record will be as black
as smog.
Brieanne Porter is a junior
political science major.